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On this Day in Movie History, September 3, 1991: Frank Capra Dies

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It was on this day, September 3, 1991, the “American dream personified,” Sicilian-born American film director Frank Russell Capra (born Francesco Rosario Capra, May 18, 1897) died of a heart attack in his sleep. He was 94.

Immigrating to the U.S. when he was six, and eventually becoming a creative force behind major award-winning films during the 1930s and 1940s, Capra became one of America’s most powerful directors during the 1930s, winning three Oscars as Best Director.

Among his leading films was It Happened One Night (1934), which became the first film to win all five top Oscars, including Best Picture. Other leading films included Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), Lost Horizon (1937), You Can’t Take It With You (1938), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Meet John Doe (1941), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) and State of the Union (1948).

Because of his early fame as a director, his name was listed “above the title” of his films when they were publicized. People “flocked to the theaters” during the 1930s and 1940s to see films directed by Frank Capra.

Interred in the Coachella Valley Public Cemetery in Coachella, California, he left part of his 1,100-acre (4 km2) ranch in Fallbrook, California, to Caltech. Capra’s personal papers and some of his film related materials are contained in the Wesleyan University Cinema Archives, which allows scholars and media experts from around the world full access.

Birthdays
1910 – Kitty Carlisle (Catherine Conn) (actress: A Night at the Opera; panelist: To Tell the Truth; died Apr 17, 2007)

1913 – Alan Ladd (actor: The Carpetbaggers. 13 West Street, Duel of Champions, One Foot in Hell, All the Young Men, Guns of the Timberland, The Man in the Net, The Badlanders, The Proud Rebel, The Deep Six, Boy on a Dolphin. The Big Land, Santiago, Hell on Frisco Bay, The McConnell Story, Drum Beat, The Black Knight,Saskatchewan, Hell Below Zero, Paratrooper, Shane, Desert Legion, Botany Ba, Thunder in the East, The Iron Mistress, Red Mountain)

1926 – Anne Jackson (actress: Lovers and Other Strangers, Lost in Yonkers, A Woman Called Golda, Funny About Love)

1943 – Valerie Perrine (actress: Lenny, W.C. Fields and Me, Superman, Boiling Point, Sweet Bird of Youth, Leo & Liz in Beverly Hills)

1953 – Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Director: A Very Long Engagement, Amélie, Alien: Resurrection, The City of Lost Children, Delicatessen)

1963 – Holt McCallany (Actor: Bullet to the Head (completed), Hijacked, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (TV series), Nick the Doorman (TV movie), Lights Out (TV series), The Losers, Toxic, Night and Day (TV movie), A Perfect Getaway, Mental (TV series), Burn Notice (TV series), Stolen, Bound by a Secret (TV movie), CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (TV series), Law & Order: Criminal Intent (TV series, Vote and Die: Liszt for President, Vantage Point, Heroes (TV series), The Academy (TV series), Rise: Blood Hunter, Rourke, Criminal Minds (TV series), Medium (TV series), Underfunded (TV movie), Alpha Dog, CSI: Miami (TV series), Against the Ropes, Monk (TV series), L.A. Sheriff’s Homicide (TV movie)

1965 – Charlie Sheen (Carlos Irwin Estevez) (actor: Two and a Half Men, Wall Street, Platoon, Hot Shots, The Chase, Men at Work, Young Guns, Major League, Major League II, Being John Malkovich, Spin City; brother of actor Emilio Estevez, son of actor Martin Sheen)

1965 – Costas Mandylor (Actor: Should’ve Been Romeo, Hyenas, Saw 3D: The Final Chapter, Sinners and Saints, An Affirmative Act, Toxic, The Cursed, Torn, Saw VI, In the Eyes of a Killer, Immortally Yours, Golden Goal!, Saw V, The Drum Beats Twice, Emma Blue, Primal Doubt (TV movie), Beowulf, Saw IV, Nobody, Made in Brooklyn. The Wedding Bells (TV series), Payback, Saw III, Disaster Zone: Volcano in New York (TV movie), 7th Heaven (TV series), The Game of Their Lives, Just Desserts (TV movie))

1969 – Noah Baumbach (Writer/Dirctor: Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (screenplay), The Corrections (TV movie) (adaptation), Greenberg (screenplay / story), Fantastic Mr. Fox (screenplay), Margot at the Wedding (written by),The Squid and the Whale (written by), The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (written by), Thirty (TV movie), Conrad & Butler Take a Vacation (short), Mr. Jealousy (written by), Highball (as Jesse Carter), Kicking and Screaming (story / written by))

1974 – Clare Kramer (Actress: Hard Love, Goodnight Burbank (TV series), The Dead Ones, Endure, Road to Hell, The Grift, The Thirst, House M.D. (TV series, The Gravedancers, Guy in Row Five, L.A. D.J., The Skulls III (video), Tru Calling (TV series), Mummy an’ the Armadillo, D.E.B.S. (short), Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (TV series), The Rules of Attraction, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV series), The Random Years (TV series), The Mallory Effect, Bring It On, Ropewalk, Dodge’s City (TV movie), Outreach (TV series), Vig (TV movie), In & Out)

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